It was more a case of bridge-building than boat-building for off-the-wall racer Guy Martin, during his latest visit to Northern Ireland.
Martin is used to the attention now but was a shy Guy at firstWhat a Guy: Guy Martin tries out the new Tyco Suzuki that he will race in 2012 pacemakerIT was more a case of bridge-building than boat-building for off-the-wall racer Guy Martin, during his latest visit to Northern Ireland.
But despite much speculation, the fast-talking Lincolnshire man has re-affirmed his commitment to Hector and Philip Neill’s Moneymore based Tyco Suzuki by TAS Racing team, and will partner Manxman Conor Cummins at all three international road races this season.
Since the launch of TT film ‘Closer to the Edge’, which has reputedly sold 180,000 copies to date, and his hit BBC series ‘The Boat that Guy Built’, the free-spirited racer with the Dennis the Menace hairstyle, has accumulated a large cult following worldwide.
But despite his unique television appeal, the truck fitter from Kirmington still maintains racing and tinkering at engines is his number one priority.
“I’m delighted to be back with the TAS team for a second year. I couldn’t knock last year to be honest — the only thing we didn’t do was win a TT,” he lamented, referring to his four podium near misses on the Isle of Man.
Martin added: “Going into this
year we’ll not be changing anything really. The Superstock is a new bike and the 600 will have some more development, as will the Superbike.
“The main thing for me is to keep the team the same. Cracking lads — I get on with them really well.
“As long as I have Mark (McCarville) and Danny (Horne) on the spanners and Philip Neill looking after it all, then the job’s a good’un.”
In last year’s blue riband Senior TT, Martin pushed John McGuinness harder than he’s been pushed before, leading the 15-time TT winner for over two laps.
It was a learning experience, but also a frustrating one, as he explained.
“Yeah, yeah I think I led him for two and a half laps. It’s there, boy it’s there. We just need a bit of fine-tuning.
“We can do the speeds. I’m good enough and the Tyco Suzukis will be good enough — we just need a few rough edges polishing off.
“The amount of miles we clocked up before the TT helped and we’ll do that again.
“Now I’ve had a year and time to sit and think about it all, we’ll get back on the bike and get used to it. Then we’re going to make a few changes. That’s what we’re going to do. I want to do well at the North West and Ulster but the main thing is to get that TT win out of the way.”
Being mobbed at last year’s event by his ever growing fan base slightly un-nerved Martin, and having been described as awkward and stand-offish at times during TT fortnight, he’d like to set the record straight.
“Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes,” was his typical homespun response.
“I probably brought a lot of it on myself doing TV and films, and I admit last year I was like a fish out of water, there were so many people,” he explained.
“I was never rude to anyone, but yeah, I did feel uneasy. I didn’t mean to come across as rude or ungrateful.
“I just wasn’t used to the attention. But if it happens in 2012 then I’ll be ready to deal with it — I hope!”